Rachel Magario and her new guide dog Jarvis wasted no time testing out the winter booties they had used in training; upon their return to Minnesota where Rachel’s husband and retired guide dog were waiting, they were met by snow and frigid temperatures. Rachel shares, “Learning routes in a new environment can be overwhelming, but it’s even harder under harsh weather conditions. Jarvis championed through it. He was even able to identify curbs covered with ice and snow.” Not only is Jarvis coping with the snow, he loves running around in it with Rachel’s retired guide. The two quickly became best friends.
When Rachel was six years old, a car accident left her totally blind. She has relied on guide dogs throughout most of her life; Rachel received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Kansas and works as the Assistive Technology Specialist at PACER Center. Rachel also has her own business as an accessibility consultant for business designers and developers and believes following accessibility guidelines serves to improve technology experiences for everyone, even those without visual impairment.
Jarvis quickly learned Rachel’s work route as well as the other places she frequents. She says, “One of the amazing abilities of guide dogs is targeting. I choose a place I go often and Jarvis soon starts recognizing the place and showing it to me. He even led me to one of my favorite stores in the Mall of America after I had shown in to him only a few times.” As an experienced guide dog user, Rachel knows Jarvis is a wonderful match who is helping her to live by her philosophy that “happiness is a state of mind” and to be “persistent and never give up.”